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Asking people with memory loss about past holidays can help them recall happy times

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Using a process called reminiscence therapy, that may be possible. In reminiscence therapy, people are encouraged to dis- cuss memories of positive experiences. Most center on asking questions that may help prompt holiday-themed memories.

The following are examples of what we at Primrose will ask our residents:

  • What were your family traditions around the holidays when you were growing up?
  • Did you have a Christmas tree? When and who would decorate it?
  • Were there particular foods you would make and eat around the holidays?
  • Did you ever travel for the holidays?

Be an attentive listener. Make eye contact with your loved one, and angle your body toward theirs so that they have your undivided attention. Ask follow up questions when appropriate. This indicates to your loved one that you heard what they said and are interested to know more.

Engage your loved one in activities that engage multiple senses. For example, baking holiday-themed cookies can elicit memories through touch, smell and taste.

Look at pictures of past holiday events and listening to holiday-themed music may also engage memories. We hope you give reminiscence therapy a try this holiday season.


December 2020 Primrose Press

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